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Surface Finishes on Natural Stone

Take a look through our sawn stone catalogue and you soon realise that there's a multitude of different natural stone finishes on offer. Whereas some stone is purely sawn, others are sawn and sandblasted, flamed or brushed. The difference is something we get asked about, so here's a quick run-down of what gets done and why.

Sawn natural stone being given a surface finish of sandblasting. Black sand directed by metal nozzle.
Sawn stone being sandblasted.

Sawn stone, pure and simple

Sawn stone, such as the Beige Sandstone and Britannia Buff Yorkstones, are those which need no additional finish. This is because they have a natural slip-resistance, cut so cleanly that saw-marks are not an issue, and look gorgeous just as they are.

Sawn grey yorkstone, sawn only, without any of the paving finishes applied, shown in close-up.
Sawn Grey Yorkstone. No added natural stone finish required.

 

Sawn and sand-blasted

This is the one of the commonest natural stone finishes you'll come across. When natural stone paving is sand-blasted, it often indicates that it's particularly dense. If the sawn surface were not sand-blasted, it would be too smooth and slippery, especially in the wet. With it, you get a safe, non-slip surface with a very consistent texture, as illustrated below by our Buff Sawn Sandstone.

Close-up view of Buff Sawn Sandstone from London Stone, sand-blasted
A close-up of the sandblasted surface finish of Buff Sawn Sandstone.

 

Sawn and flamed

For similar reasons, some stones are flamed. Again, this adds a non-slip finish to paving that would otherwise prove slippery, such as Flamed Grey Sandstone. However, flaming also adds an extra dimension to a stone's appearance and is particularly suitable for granites and basalt because it emphasises the crystalline structure of the material.

Sawn Black basalt from London Stone with  a flamed finish.
The sawn and flamed surface finish of black basalt.

 

Sawn, sand-blasted and brushed

Brushing – which is performed with a rotating brush head, rather than an eager man with a broom – can be brought into play after sand-blasting, and is for aesthetic purposes. We do this with, for example, Jura Beige Limestone because it brings out the colour and softens the sand-blasted finish slightly, adding an aged effect.

Jura Beige Limestone, sandblasted and brushed, shown in close-up
Jura Beige Limestone with a sandblasted and brushed natural stone finish.

 

Sawn and honed

Honing is sometimes performed for the same reason as brushing—it brings out the colour of some stones. In most cases, though, it's employed to remove saw-marks and smooth the finish. 

Updated October 2021

Published 3rd September 2015
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